Thursday, 12 December 2013

Take A Breath This Christmas

There is a lot of stress going about at this time of the year. The holiday season can be so much fun, but for some it's a time of mounting pressure to make it all 'perfect'.

If you are stressing out about how to make your home the model of chic style, I urge you to stop now and take a seat. Your home is not a Hollywood stage set and it never will be. The 'perfect' pictures on Christmas cards and in the movies of families huddled around the fire with a wonderfully dressed tree or eating a massive roast with all the trimmings and gifts over flowing are just that - Perfect Pictures. They have been stage set, dressed by set decorators, and costume experts have clothed the people you see and guess what; the gifts are empty boxes.

There are three tips that I would encourage you to do over the next week to help with the planning and running of Christmas time. They are what I have personally found to help myself and clients each year.

Don't believe it - it's a set, not your home!
A Plea To The Host - If you are hosting Christmas this year I would really encourage you to delegate a few things out. You still have time to do this, so get a drink, a piece of paper and a pen. List out all the things you feel you need to do for those coming to visit as well as the jobs for the meal prep. Then, next to each item write a name of one or two of the adults that are coming to visit and give those jobs to them to do. They are over 18 - they should man-up and help!

Not only does this take the weight off you, but it also allows others to feel that they are able to help and participate in a week long visit (in some cases). For example:

  • Drinks - Jack
  • Vegetable Prep - Jane
  • Bedding - Tom 
  • Kid's games - Jamie
  • Table setting - Emily 
  • Table clearing - Peter
  • Puddings - Auntie Mabel
  • Sauces - Mum
You get the picture. You have a week and a half to go, so if you email the list out to all your guests this weekend they have a week to get their items together and sort it out for you. Believe me, everyone knows Christmas is a mad rush and people need help, so allow them to do things for you. It won't be perfect, but hey it never will be, so let it go!

Present Buying - This year I banned Amazon and our big local town as sources of gift giving so I stayed close to home and spent my money in the market town where I live and made a huge amount of our gifts. It took a bit of time management, but if you can do this for next year I would really encourage it, as it not only helps your local independent businesses but you can get it done easily during your local errand runs. It's a lot less stressful - believe me! 

However, if you haven't got it sorted yet, cancel everything you have for this weekend (December 14th and 15th), and get it done now. There is no point waiting for the next weekend, which is a time to start snuggling down and enjoying the pre-Christmas Nativity concerts at your local church, meeting friends and eating mince pies. It's not a time you want to faff around in large shopping malls with stressed kids and partners. 

If you are shopping for gifts on your own, make a list of people you are buying for and next to their names write TWO options so if you don't find your first preference you can simple get the second without a thought in the middle of town. Get in to town at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday, get a parking spot and enjoy a coffee and pastry before the shops open. Then just do it - no hesitation - hit it baby! If you are shopping with a partner, simply tear the list in half so it's done in a fraction of the time and you can get back home quickly. Little stress and an easier win than last moment issues. 

Make Time - This gets a wry smile from people with large Christmas plans, but trust me, it'll do you the power of good. Phone your therapist up and choose the one kind of treatment that relaxes you the most and make an hour in your diary for next week to chill out! This investment of time will benefit you more that you can imagine during Christmas and will prep you for New Year as well. 

  • Massage will allow you to calm down and your Massage Therapist can work with either soothing oils, deep fascial release and long held calming and releasing stretches. Your Thai Yoga Therapists will also be able to clear your energy flow, as will your Acupuncturist or Shiatsu Therapist. 
  • Facials are amazing at calming the tension in the face, relax headaches and sort your skin out so that all you have to do is pop some makeup on at home to look as fresh as a daisy! I would recommend soothing, calming facials this time of year as there is no need to add extra energy into your system. 
  • Manicures, Pedicures and Waxing allow you to feel 'sorted' as well as give you time to relax whilst someone looks after you. There is nothing nicer than looking at neat, short, freshly painted nails with no chips whilst preparing the Christmas turkey, and no one wants to see the New Year in with hairy armpits. 
I hope this has given you three ways to ease the stress out this holiday season. Enjoy it to it's fullest extent and if you are feeling the pressure, go to a quiet room and take ten deep refreshing breaths, swing your arms around and then head back into the frey. 

Happy Holiday love to you all xXx

Monday, 2 December 2013

Natural Selection - The Stuff Of Life 3

I have been chatting with friends, family and clients over the past couple of weeks about natural selection. Seeing that there is a break in the proceedings to being Stoned At Home due to technological issues (lack of camera man during the day), I thought I would expand on the natural flow of the conversations.

Many of you have read The Stuff Of Life blogs that were written over the late spring concerning how we are looking after our bodies and our planet, and I feel that this runs along with the themes that were blocked out there.

I was at my slow running kitchen sink a month ago. Again the water was not rushing through at a good speed and my heart sank as I thought of all the little bits of grated carrot that must be blocking the pipes. That self-annoyed feeling is normally the que to do the six month sink flush in which I reach for a plastic bottle, pour junk down the sink and try not to think about the toxic shock I have just leveled through the water system.

But this time I had finally had enough. Why are there plastic bottles around my house that have pictures of dead fish on the back of them with massive warning symbols? At what point was I deluded into thinking that cleaning my house with chemical based products was normal? I never thought I was a sucker for advertising, but at some point in my life there must have been a slip through my mental barricades.

There is enough science based evidence to show that essential oils cannot only be nice smelling, but also provide anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and they are very potent natural offerings. (Just do a Google search if you doubt me and you'll come up with a whole life time of studies to read through.) So why aren't I harnessing their power and using them in my home instead of unblocking my sink with toxic bombs?

If I am to write blogs that are aimed at encouraging you to grow a little organic salad at home, hydrate your body with filtered tap water and ban the plastic bottles and get to know the people who bake your bread, there has to be some joined up thinking in the place I rest my body - My home.

The point about Organic and Bio-Dynamic food production is that when you invest in it you are putting your financial vote behind the ideas, ideals and practiced methods of looking after our home planet, which is the only one we have. Especially with Bio-Dynamic farming, you are voting to say that you are looking after the planet in harmony with not only the seasons, but also accepting that farming can happen along natural rise and fall of the Earth's natural magnetic energy (and that's just for starters!).

So I walked away from the sink and let it gurgle through the carrot filings and got on the phone to my Mum, who along with Dad brought us up so that we could be as aware and as close to the earth as they could with three kids and about five full time jobs. I asked Mum where I was going wrong and as she gently smiled and with a laugh on her lips, she told me to get a lemon!

The power of lemons, tea tree oil spray, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are stupendous! I have been boring Mum with emails about how shiny my shower is, and there are FaceBook photos of my sparkling oven doors, and there is no mildew around the tiles of my bath. Plus, my water is running perfectly down the plug hole. It took a bit of Google searching, chatting and some embarrassing questions on social media, but after four weeks I think I may just be getting to the point where I can get away without all the bottles and sprays that I used to depend on each week.

The funny thing is this; not only do I feel like I am no longer killing fish down on the south coast of England, but I am liberated even more from the advertising drivel. Plus, I like the fact that I am no longer cleaning with rubber gloves on - I dread to think which landfill they ended up in!

People have asked me a good question; Does it take longer to clean now that you don't have spray bottles?
The answer is not now. It took me three weeks to get it all going including sourcing recipes, (the Tea Tree Shower Spray is fantastic: 2 cups of water to 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil) but now it takes the same time as it ever did.

Today for example I did a liter of vinegar to a liter of water, in a bucket, shoved the shower head in it and left it for three hours. Then just wiped all the crud away from the shower head and it looks like new. Easy!

I am clearly not perfect and there is still a few bottles that I use (washing up liquid, laundry softener etc), but it is less and that it what matters the most - a constant lessening so the planet around us, as well as our bodies, can breath easier.

My next project for spare time over Christmas holidays is making my own beeswax furniture polish!

Shop Dermalogica